I enjoy sex shops, always have. Yes, even in a world where you can have anything shipped to your door, I still like the retail experience. It’s something about seeing products in person and taking in the atmosphere of a sex shop. And the retail offers something you can’t really get from an online experience – the ability to test toys. Last week, I stopped by the one of my go to sex shops, to see if they had any new products. An electrical shock toy caught my attention, think of a handheld, chrome mini cattle prod. There was a demo model available, so I tested it on my arm.
As I touched my arm with the toy and pressed the trigger, I smelled the faint odor of something burning. I looked at my arm, and there were whitish marks where the electrical arc from the toy had burned my skin. The whitish marks quickly turned into small, pinpoint spots. The toy was hot enough to leave burn marks from the slightest touch. The electrical arc wasn’t adjustable and was strong enough to make my fingers twitch. I decided the toy was too strong and unpredictable for a scene based on that little test, continued my shopping and went on my way. I was curious what marks the toy would leave, so I took note over the coming days.
After two days, the marks on my arm resembled tiny chemical burns. By the the third day, there were scabs. It reminded me of the time I splashed sulfuric acid drain cleaner on my arm and received a nice burn as a result. Four days later, the marks have healed and I’m certain they won’t leave any lasting scars.
The point of this post isn’t to critique a single product, rather it’s more of a cautionary tale about the importance of testing out the sex and kink toys you intend to use (or purchase). My interest in the shock toy was based on the fact that it was similar to another toy which MsPomegranate and I used in a class a few months ago. That toy worked perfectly and didn’t leave a mark. I felt confident using that toy, because I tested it first and trusted its performance, based on that test. The toy I tested in that sex shop should have performed in a similar fashion and simply didn’t. It was more intense, gave a stronger jolt and left marks. This toy test had yielded interesting results – two similar toys, yet two completely different results.
Imagine if I had used the most recent toy in a scene without testing it first. At best, I would have given someone a jolt which was uncomfortable and a bit too intense. At worse, I would have burned someone and perhaps left a permanent mark.
Be educated and aware when you carry toys and gear into a kink scene. Develop a working knowledge of anything you use, understand it’s capabilities. Know beforehand if your rope is in suitable condition to perform a suspension. Ask a partner if a particular vibrator or lube is acceptable when negotiating. Test that hot wax on your own wrist before playing.
In BDSM, everything is variable. A toy that warms up one bottom could cause another to safeword. Companies that have an expensive pedigree can produce absolute junk. That benign kink novelty such as the shocker could be too intense for a consummate masochist. How gear will behave in a scene and how it will affect a bottom (and the top wielding the item) is unique to every scene experience. You can’t always predict, but you can prepare. So remember, testing is a part of risk awareness. Your scene partner doesn’t deserve anything less.
Test your toys and always keep it kinky.